Purdue Pete was first designed as a logo by the University Bookstore in 1940. They would put it on their products and portray him dressed up in different clothes for the different majors. He got the Purdue part of his name from Purdue University . 
Purdue University is a public land-grant research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the flagship campus of the Purdue University system. The university was founded in 1869 after Lafayette businessman John Purdue donated land and money to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name.